Tom Foos is a hard man to pin down
By Rock McKissic
Losing is something Tom Foos simply hates. The Spencerport senior wrestler has just one loss this season, but it's been eating at him.
| TOM FOOS PROFILE
| Favorite athlete:
| Favorite food:
| Favorite TV show:
| Favorite musical group:
| Biggest sports thril:
||Winning Hilton Tournament two years in a row
| Sports Goal:
||Winning state championship
| Career Ambition:
| If I won the lottery I would:
||Put it in the bank.
"I'm not really satisfied with my season. I'm not particularly happy with the loss that I have," said Foos, who lost to Chris Terry of Whitehall (Section 2) in the Spencerport Tournament earlier this season. "It bugs me. I'd like another shot at him."
The season as a whole hasn't been all bad for Foos. He has a 21-1 record, including a first-place finish this weekend at the Clayton Barnard Memorial Tournament at Hilton. The tournament is regarded as one of the best in Section 5.
"This weekend was probably the biggest win for me," said Foos, who had a four-year record of 102-28. "I proved to myself that I could wrestle with some of the best. I was really thinking about winning this tournament."
Foos is now preparing for next weekend's Monroe County League tournament at Webster. Foos has wrestled anywhere from 155 pounds (for dual meets), to 145 pounds (for tournaments) to 138 pounds which will be his weight at the Counties.
"I think 138 will be my best chance to win the state tournament," he said. "I feel I do my best when I'm at that weight."
Foos said his fluctuating weight isn't a problem because of tough practices and his diet. He eats salads and pasta and drinks lots of juices to get his weight where it's comfortable for wrestling.
"We have pretty tough practices, so it's not too hard to make my weight go up and down," he said.
One thing that hasn't gone up and down is Foos' wrestling style this year. Spencerport coach Bill Jacoutot compares Foos to a basketball team that run a ball-controlled offense - he lulls you to sleep before racing past you for a layup.
"Tommy is not a fast-break man. He slows it down. He's a half-court guy," Jacoutot said. "this weekend he shut this kid down from Baldwinsville (Mike Clayton). He scored enough points when he needed it. When you get shut out, that's not very good.
First-year Hilton coach Chuck Partridge said Foos is not only blessed with good coaching from Jacoutot, but he's a highly talented wrestler.
"He's deceptive when you look at him because he's so tall (6-foot), but he's got good skills," Partridge said. "Bill knows how to get the most out of his gifted wrestlers and Tom is a good example."
Foos prides himself on being a good practice player. He said he always enters on of Jacoutot's practices with a good attitude.
"The harder I work, the better I become." he said."I don't go to practice saying, 'Oh I have to practice.' I go to practice with the attitude of having fun. We do a lot of hard conditioning, live wrestling and a lot of hard drills, but I tell myself I have to do it to get better."
Foos' practices don't end at Spencerport - they carry over at home. He wrestles with his father, Gary, in the basement. Foos said his father never wrestled while in high school, but they like to talk about the finer points of the sport.
"He beats me sometimes. He's tough," said Foos about his 180-pound father. "We wrestle pretty often and he tells me what I can do to improve myself. You know how dads are, he's always criticizing me and telling me that I should work harder and it helps."
Gary's friend, Chris Kellman, influenced Foos to wrestle while in the seventh grade. Kellman, a Hilton grad, used to organize gyms at Hilton where Foos and others could wrestle.
"He worked with me and encouraged me to wrestle," Foos said. "He would teach me the moves, and we'd roll around a little bit."
Kellman's persistence paid off when Foos made the varsity team at Greece Athena as an eight-grader at 112 pounds. Foos' family moved to Spencerport when he was a sophomore.
Jacoutot coached five state champions in the 1980's - John Suhr(145) in 1984; Mike LoPresti (138) and Rick Suhr (155) in '86; Tom Billone (126) in '87 and Joe LoPresti (126) last year. Foos hopes to be the first state champ of the 90's.
"It really depends on how hard I work at it," he said. "It's something I'm shooting for and we go against some of the better competition around. You can't just ask for more than that."
Jacoutot said that Foos' work ethic is comparable to his state champions, but he doesn't know if Foos is capable of winning a state crown. He didn't know on five other occasions, either.
"You never know with the state championship. all my guys that won, I never felt that they could win it," he said. "I feel the same way about Tommy, but you never know. Who am I to say?"